10 Tips For Working From Home

Whether you meet with clients in your home or telecommute, there are both rewards and challenges to working from home.

One article could not begin to cover all the aspects related to having a home-based business, but I can give you my ten favorite tips.

 

  • Have a Designated Space – In our current home, I am blessed to have an office with great lighting from large windows, and better yet, doors I can close. An office physically separated from the rest of your home allows you to focus, delineates the space clearly for tax purposes , and provides a meeting space for clients. One of my favorite benefits, however, is that you can still leave the office at the end of the time you have set aside for work. Creativity can help you find the room in your home. Guest rooms, large closets, even dividing a large room with a bookcase can help carve out space for your work. When there is no other option, at least use designated and portable systems for your paperwork. Many businesses from home can be run with a simple crate for filing and a laptop computer.
  • Realize You Cannot Be Two Places at Once – You wouldn’t be able to sit in a board room and get your team excited about a new product launch if your two year old was having a complete meltdown on the table. Many women choose to work from home in order to be physically present more hours with their children. This is a fabulous motivation, but you cannot have an effective sales call or hold an appointment with said disgruntled toddler. Even if your tasks are technical or non-people related, you will lose focus and make mistakes more often without clearly defined times for for work and times for family. This may involve your spouse committing to parenting solo a few hours during the evening or you hiring help for the house so you can work during naptime. You can’t clean, parent, and work at the same time, at least not all the time.
  • Just Because You Work From Home, Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Work – At least, it shouldn’t! Use a tickler file, daily task list, or phone reminders to make sure your work  moves you towards your goals. I cannot tell you how many times I have thought about what I should do for my business, but at the end of the day, nothing was actually done.
  • Find and Tweak Your Systems – Anytime a system is not working for you, look for advice on how to improve it. If you need a better way to track customers or projects, ask others in your line of work what they do. If you are repeatedly searching for the same items (paper clips, calculator), put together an office ’emergency’ kit. Pinterest truly is a great resource for organizing ideas, both physical spaces and business tools.
  • Educate Yourself -read how others built successful businesses, attend training offered by your company or affiliated organizations, and seek out mentors.
  • Track the Money – Track your time so you can accurately bill clients or estimate your earnings per hour. Track income and expenses for tax reporting purposes and to be clear with your spouse about what benefits your family receives because of your work. Use a ledger book, database software, or a professional accountant as appropriate. When you are handling actual payments, keep others’ financial information secure and make deposits in a timely fashion. Anticipate your own business needs such as ordering business cards before they are depleted and preparing for growth {Can your current systems function well if you double your growth this year?}
  • Know When to Hire Help – A wise mentor told me a couple of years ago: when you cannot do the work that only you can do, because you cannot move forward until the supporting tasks are done, it’s time to hire help for those tasks. What is best done by you {being a wife, mother, meeting with clients} and what can be handled by someone else {filing, laundry, grocery shopping}.
  • Find Encouragement – Make time each day to read and study the Bible, participate in a local MOPS group if you have young children, and listen to music or training that will inspire you. Michael Hyatt’s new podcast series is a great place to start.
  • Be Flexible – If you are working from home, flexibility is almost certainly one of your top three motivators. Work at night if it means you can attend a child’s school play. Get up early one day a week so you can enjoy your infant. Take sick days when you or your children need to, just as you would with another job. Work more hours for a week if it helps you complete a special project or goal.
  • Get Out – Get out of the house. Get out to meet new potential clients. Get out to worship and fellowship with other people who share your faith. Get out to enjoy the sunshine {especially if it’s rare like it is here}. Get out to get perspective – the work you are doing is a tool to help you reach your individual and family goals.

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

What do you find most challenging about working from home?